Cooking

The Only Way to Make a PB&J

It's peanut butter jelly time
Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly Sandwich
Photo: Michelle Sun/Tasting Table

We may be adults, but this September, we’ve got all things back-to-school on the brain, including one of the school lunch classics: the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. However, after a recent dispute among editors, I need to make one thing clear:

A peanut butter and jelly sandwich must be made with Concord grape jelly. Period.

No strawberry jam or apricot preserves. Rich peanut butter pairs with the floral sweetness of grape jelly better than any alternative, and I’m standing by it ‘til the end. And don’t get me started on the bread. The type is up to you, but it better not be toasted (pro tip: Warm the peanut butter separately in the microwave).

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Not only is this method of preparation merely a personal preference, it’s a sign of patriotism. Grape jelly was invented in 1918 and used for soldier rations during WWI. After sliced bread happened in 1928, these two elements plus peanut butter became a crucial source of nourishment for soldiers during WWII. As the story goes, a soldier had the genius idea to put all three together, and the rest is history (and I’ll bet you soldiers didn’t have a toaster).

So there you have it. Not only does PB&J taste better when the J is grape jelly, but it’s the way history intended. And if you don’t do it for me, do it for the troops.

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